Metolazone is a medication that acts as a diuretic. This means that it increases the amount of fluid released from the body in the form of urine. It is typically used in the treatment of various conditions associated with the cardiovascular system, such as high blood pressure.
Commonly known as a water pill, metolazone is also used to treat water retention when it occurs alone or as a side effect of another medication. Conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, deficiencies in the function of the renal system, and congestive heart failure can result in the buildup of fluid in the body, most often in the legs and feet. Known as edema, this condition results in bloating and discomfort, which can be relieved by a diuretic when the excess water is no longer stored in the body but is instead passed out in the form of urine. Pulmonary edema occurs when fluid builds up in the tissue of the lungs, and this swelling can interfere with breathing.
As a side effect of metolazone, once the extra stored fluid begins leaving the body, the swelling also begins to disappear. This can reduce the chances of clots building up in arteries that have been swollen and openings that have been narrowed, and in turn reduce the chances of stroke or cardiac arrest. When fluid is emptied from the lungs, this can make breathing easier and less labored.
An oral medication, metolazone is generally prescribed in tablet form, and medical professionals will adjust the dose and frequency based on the individual taking it. It may take several weeks to see a measurable result. As it acts to increase urinary output, most will recommend not taking it immediately before bed. Once an individual begins using the drug, he or she should continue to take it even if the symptoms disappear; this will ensure that the balance of the body is kept.
Side effects include the increased need to urinate as metolazone begins to cleanse the body of fluid. Some individuals may become dehydrated, or lose valuable nutrients and minerals such as potassium. Regular blood tests may be conducted to ensure that the body is not losing nutrients it needs to remain healthy. Other side effects such as headache and dizziness or gastrointestinal upsets like diarrhea or constipation are common, but these typically fade as the body adjusts to the medication. Occasionally, individuals may have an allergic reaction to the medication that manifests itself in a rash, hives, or itching.